Challenging your employees, letting them know which direction the business is headed and returning positive feedback were among several leadership tips discussed Thursday night during Montecito Bank & Trust's third annual B2B Series.
Local business leaders and bank employees gathered at Fess Parker's Doubletree Resort for the annual education series, which featured a keynote address titled “Great Leadership Creates Great Workplaces.”
After a cocktail and networking hour, Montecito Bank & Trust President Janet Garufis said she was thrilled to see so many in attendance to listen to Barry Posner, co-author of The Leadership Challenge.
“You are the business owners that make this community go,” Garufis said. “Everybody needs to lead. We try to give them the skills to do that.”
The award-winning author echoed her sentiments, explaining that anyone can be a leader if they keep successively to five practices: challenge the process, model the way, inspire a shared vision, encourage the heart and enable others to act.
“It starts with the notion that everybody in the organization needs to believe they’re a leader,” Posner said. “When everybody feels that way, that’s what a great organization looks like. For most of us, the opportunities come every single day.”
He explained that every workplace at some point could have friction, confusion and underperformance, but a good leader can look at the chaos and figure out what is best to do.
Posner enlisted plenty of participation from members of the audience, who periodically posed questions of their own.
“What if you’re wrong?” one attendee said, referring to the goals and expectations leaders have set for their employees.
Posner noted that leaders are no smarter than anybody else, and that being wrong wasn’t a bad thing unless they hadn’t considered the opinions and views of others before setting those goals.
“Relationships make a difference,” he said. “You and I make a difference.”
Sometimes going out on a ledge and feeling scared can be a good thing, Posner added.
He emphasized a need for leaders to express their excitement and to know what motivates their employees — with becoming a fellow manager as a possible incentive.
“Leaders turn their followers into leaders,” Posner said.